11 Comments

Star Lord of the Potter Rings Wars

Ask anyone who has seen Avatar and wants to be snarky about it, the plot of James Cameron’s epic Science Fiction adventure bears a strong resemblance to Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, and Fern Gully.  The similarities between Forrest Gump, Big Fish, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has already been explored.  Now let’s take a look at the elements of three iconic fantasy/SF series: Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.  For the sake of argument, this list only refers to the film versions of the stories (sorry, Tom Bombadil and Old Man Willow), and only events referred to in the original trilogy of Star Wars will be used.  How close are the adventures of Frodo Baggins, Luke Skywalker, and the Boy Who Lived?

Story

Rings Wars Potter
Based on a series of books

X

X

Is influenced by classic mythology

X

X

X

Features a variety of fantasy characters

X

X

X

Invented a new language for races of characters X

X

 X
Involves an epic journey

X

X

X

Hinges on magical jewelry that has destructive properties

X

X

Politics have broader reach in the story than the hero’s goal

X

X

X

Mythology that predates the hero’s birth

X

X

X

Interaction between humans and other races of creatures

X

X

X

A birthday is the catalyst for the events in the story

X

X

A gathering of leaders meet to discuss what to do about fighting the growing evil, though leave the heroes out of the discussion

X

X

Historical sword that is important to the plot

X

X

X

Basin of seeing is used by the protagonist

X

X

Attack on a fortress  or base of operations where the good guys are hiding

X

X

X

Prophecies about the hero

X

X

An object that creates light in dark places

X

X

Protagonist

Rings Wars Potter
Is an orphan

X

X

X

Lives with uncle

X

X

X

Has humble beginnings

X

X

X

Has a psychic connection with the villain

X

X

X

Has a scar that hurts when evil is near

X

X

Suffers a disfigurement

X

X

x

Uses a glowing weapon

X

X

X

Uses some form of magic

X

X

Can turn invisible with help of a special device

X

X

Has a battle with the villain during the climax of the series

X

X

Is an unlikely hero

X

X

X

Follows in the footsteps of an older relative

X

X

Possess an object that the villain seeks

X

X

X

Witness the death of their mentor and is unable to stop it

X

X

X

Disguises himself in enemy uniform to sneak through enemy territory

X

X

Sees a vision of his friends being tormented, so he springs into action to save them

X

X

Struggles with being overcome by the powers of darkness

X

X

X

Is willing to die for his cause and believes this will be the outcome of his journey

X

X

X

Sees good in a seemingly evil character

X

X

Villains

Rings Wars Potter
Returns from the dead to reclaim his power

X

X

Chief villain remains largely unseen through much or all of the story so that the idea of him is worse than his reality

X

X

X

Has a hierarchy of villains

X

X

X

A bad guy proves there is good in him

X

X

Mentor

Rings Wars Potter
Is elderly

X

X

X

Has a gray beard

X

X

X

Wears robes

X

X

X

Performs a form of magic

X

X

X

Sends the hero on his journey

X

X

X

Dies, but continues to mentor the hero

X

X

X

A person close to them gave in to the forces of darkness

X

X

X

Member of an order that exists to protect their world

X

X

X

Though of by the younger generation to be crazy

X

X

X

Best Friend

Rings Wars Potter
Is used for comic relief

X

X

X

Has a change of character and becomes heroic

X

X

X

Sometimes clashes with the hero

X

X

X

Mostly serves as a sidekick for the hero without doing much through a good portion of the story

X

X

Gets the girl at the end of the series

X

X

X

Primary Female Character

Rings Wars Potter
Holds her own in a fight

X

X

X

Is a princess

X

X

Her bloodline is an issue

X

X

Other Characters

Rings Wars Potter
Duo of humorous characters who prove useful despite their initial goofiness

X

X

X

A small, strange-looking creature that talks in an annoying, high-pitched voice or odd syntax

X

X

X

Sneaky employee of the villain with “Worm” in his name

X

X

Dark, scary hooded creatures that travel in packs and threaten the heroes

X

X

A giant spider

X

X

A secondary villain with long, white hair

X

X

A secondary hero is a rogue with a shady past who lives on the fringe

X

X

A large, hairy, and loveable sidekick to the heroes

X

X

Supporting character who betrays the heroes due to self interest, but regrets his actions and becomes heroic

X

X

Settings

Rings Wars Potter
A dangerous forest

X

X

X

A world similar to our own, but with magical elements unknown to most

X

X

Castle fortress or other impenetrable, heavily-armed secure place

X

 X

X

A water-logged location filled with the dead

X

X

A pub where major plot points take place

X

X

X

Underground tunnels where a fight occurs

X

X

Snow-covered land where battle occurs

X

X

Swamp

X

X

Feel free to add to anything in the comments section that may have been overlooked.

As a bit of interest, according to Boxoffice Mojo, here are the worldwide gross receipts for each of these series:

  • Lord of the Rings (3 movies): $2,917,506,956
  • Star Wars (6 movies): $4,314,075,262
  • Harry Potter (8 movies): $7,706,147,978

In comparison, here are the box office totals for other fantasy series:

  •  Twlight Saga (4 movies with 1 more film yet to be released): $2,508,379,328
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (3 movies): $1,475,977,950
  • The Hunger Games (1 movie with 2 more proposed films—The Hunger Games is still in the theaters): $631,952,067
  • The Avengers and the films leading up to it (6 movies—The Avengers is still in the theaters): $3,323,643,375 [yes, this is technically a comic book movie and not true fantasy/SF, but it’s good for comparison’s sake]

copyright © 2012 FilmVerse

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11 comments on “Star Lord of the Potter Rings Wars

  1. Really cool post here. I have one small thing though. You said that Harry Potter didn’t discover any new language. Not sure if this counts because it’s not an entire race. But some people do speak Parseltongue. Hey, I was wondering witch your personal favorite one was?

    • You’re right in pointing that out. I didn’t think Parseltongue was an actually language that someone created, but apparently Dr. Francis Nolan, a specialist in phonetics and phonology (the science of talking on the telephone?), and was hired by the Harry Potter producers to develop actual syntax. In the book, Parseltongue was just described as hissing sounds, so I assumed some sound designer made the sounds. I’ll change that.

      The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings came about because J.R.R. Tolkein was a linguist who invented the Elvish language and then came up with the history of Middle Earth to explain the existence of the language. Of course, Star Wars had to create languages for various creatures and aliens that did not speak English. Sound designer (and later film editor and overall magician) Ben Burtt created most (if not all) of them.

    • Oh, as for my favorite, no other movie had the impact on me as the original Star Wars did. Lord of the Rings probably has the most consistent quality, though there are only three films in that series. I enjoy all three of the series, but would have to go with Star Wars as my favorite.

  2. Nerd alert: three points of contention I have. One, Frodo’s scar doesn’t hurt when evil’s near; it just hurts. (Though he does have a sword that glows when Orcs are around.) Two, he doesn’t have a psychic connection with Sauron; the ring is the only bridge he has between himself and the Dark Lord (though Palantirs clearly let other characters link up with him as well). And three, well, it’s hard to look at the dark hooded figures as something that LotR shares in common with Potter instead of as something that Potter adopted from LotR.

    Just nerdy nitpicks. That’s all. Very exhaustive list you’ve got here, so applause for that. I think, though, that what you’ve done here underscores just how easy it is to relate separate stories to one another; when you boil away the details that make these stories unique, they do sound an awful lot alike, especially when speaking in broad terms (e.g. “involves an epic story”) or when referring to logical climactic beats (e.g. “has a battle with the villain during the climax of the series”).

    And all of that comes back to the idea that there’s a limited number of stories archetypes to be told. Inevitably there’s going to be some overlap. But I think activities like that are useful because they let us see that overlap in a way that ultimately impels us to contextualize them. In the end, seeing the way that these properties are alike is healthy, because it leads us to suss out the ways that they’re different and valuable on their own merits.

    • You make fair points. I love all three of these series, and it is easy to find broad similarities as well as fine points, as you said. Since Lord of the Rings was the first of these to be written, both Star Wars and Harry Potter takes inspiration from it. I love the breakdown that someone did comparing the J.J. Abrams Star Trek film to Star Wars.

  3. WOW, this is a comprehensive breakdown, Jamie. It’s interesting that the protagonists in this film all have this trio of similarities: an orphan, lives with uncle an has humble beginnings. I never thought of that before but yeah! That’s very astute of you. Great post!

  4. Love these common breakdowns of film, Jamie.

    • Thanks! As you can see in the links at the bottom of the page, a lot of people have done similarities between Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, and a few of Star Wars vs. LOTR, but I didn’t find any three-way comparison.

  5. if the mythology does not predate the actual story, then it’s not mythology. it’s this weird thing we call – religion.

    • I’m not sure if this applies to what you’re meaning, but if you’re referring to the point under the story category that the mythology that predates the hero’s birth, then what I mean is that there is a back story that goes back years before the main character was born. For Lord of the Rings, the back story was established in The Hobbit; Star Wars had the history of the Clone Wars and Anakin turning to the dark side and killing the Jedi, which was talked about in the original trilogy before the prequels were made; and Harry Potter had to deal with the ramifications of Voldemort having killed his parents when vying for power and fighting the teachers in the past, and his whole history is eventually revealed.

      Of course, Star Wars now has its own religion, as I mention here: http://filmverse.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/may-the-fourth-be-with-you/

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